New partners: BBC and Northern Ireland Screen

26 March saw the signing of a new partnership agreement between the BBC and Northern Ireland Screen to support the television and online industries in Northern Ireland (NI).

BBC and NI Screen agreement

There are multiple aims of the joint venture: principally, to make sure that NI is strongly represented to audiences both in the UK and globally; to support the production of broadcast and online content with widespread potential and to encourage the economic benefits of creative sector investment.

The agreement was signed at New Broadcasting House by BBC director general Tony Hall and chair of Northern Ireland Screen, Rotha Johnston.

Hall said: "This partnership agreement with Northern Ireland Screen demonstrates our enthusiasm for working with others to make great things happen. In recent years Northern Ireland has proven itself to be a creative breeding ground for some of the UK's best drama and factual content. We want to support these areas and help develop exciting entertainment and digital prospects, such as the forthcoming BBC One series Can't Touch This. Along with Northern Ireland Screen we want to develop the creative talent that exists in Northern Ireland and make it a new force in broadcasting."

Johnston remarked: "Today marks a significant stage in the development of the Northern Ireland screen industry and underlines the importance of a joint approach to its future strategy. This partnership agreement is a clear substantiation of the wholesale commitment of the BBC and Northern Ireland Screen to invest financially and creatively in continuing to develop an internationally competitive screen industry in Northern Ireland."

Under the agreement, the BBC will commit to invest a minimum of 2.9% of its network television spend in NI, adding to the existing investment from BBC Northern Ireland. Creative collaboration is also key, as the two bodies will come together to provide cross-genre content, including children's, factual and entertainment. Drama will be boosted by a minimum of £200,000 per year (during the longevity of hte partnership) invested by BBC Drama in the development of local writing, directing, performing and production talent.


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